It’s a crazy beautiful morning as I write this, a final note to wrap up my time here with Splice.
I’ve been working in the space of creative community arts for a few years now, it began with volunteering for a spoken-word programme, where not only did I get very experienced running events very quickly, I also learned about managing people who were all sorts of magical poet divas- I threw myself right in the deep end, believe me, and it set me up to expect the unexpected from people ever since.
I met John MacDonald early on in this journey, he’d just moved up to Auckland for his role as Chaplain At Large to the inner city, and was busy finding communities of like-minded folk. That turned out to be pretty similar to where I was at the time. We started talking about this goal he had to connect people in the city, to grow a sense of togetherness, and to invite people to take part in urban life that feeds the soul. He was also very busy hustling big organisations like Council and Heart of the City for money for this as well, which was pretty cool.
We started talking about Ellen Melville Hall as it had been rumoured that it was going under redevelopment, and with my background of all-ages gigs and loitering about the city we realised that that experience would be under threat if the venue were to close. That conversation turned into a three year… battle is perhaps too strong a word. But we fought for the value of the building for people who were under 18, or didn’t drink, to feel welcome in the city centre. I’m pleased (kind of?) to say that as I leave there is a definite date of closure for the hall (though war still quietly wages over the carpet issue) and if anything, we’ve raised the profile of the space to such a degree that new spaces are being investigated to hang on to those communities in the city.
I’ve been a resident of the city centre for three years properly- this is where I consider my roots to be, and where I find the most comfort in the world. It’s been a weird and wonderful journey getting to work with the community I live in; I’ve been able to work with a lot of friends, and have made friends with people through working together.
A year and a half on from stepping into my role legitimately, I’ve learned a whole lot about people, my city, and the value of approaching the world with an open mind. I’ll be back from Europe eventually, because I really believe Auckland’s City Centre is on the cusp of being an exciting place- one where you can get late night coffee on any corner, where people hang out in public space, and residents take ownership help each other out.
I’m going to miss my wonderful colleagues! Sandy, Mik, and John, in you guys I’ve found friends that I’m so grateful to have.
As ever, it’s never been about the ‘stuff’ that Splice does, it’s the people we’re with.
Thank you, and see you… around!
- Charlotte Red